Alison works as a lecturer teaching stained glass creation. To help her income Alison applies for a post at a local open prison where she hopes her skills can benefit those due for early release. Kitty, following a road accident, has suffered acute brain damage now requiring 24 hospital care. The connection between these young ladies soon becomes apparent and as the story unfolds we learn the secrets that bind them together both in the past and the present. On first introduction the reader has naturally great sympathy for Kitty, her almost vegetable state and inability to communicate, but Alison has also been affected by events from her childhood now manifesting in her need to self harm....."It doesn't hurt enough. Never does. For it's the cuts we hide inside that really do the damage."
This story for me is stepping out of my reading comfort zone and surprisingly enjoying a style of writing where the reader becomes a bystander as events unfold through the voices of Alison and Kitty. What is particularly poignant is the fact that Kitty cannot communicate by speech and her thoughts can only remain as thoughts not shared with the other players in the book but only with the (privileged) reader. This is a very powerful story telling tool as the more you read the more you can appreciate and understand how difficult life is for someone so incapacitated . The author effectively displays the structures and need that exists within the family unit and how, even in our darkest moments, that warm felling of love and tenderness can overcome the greatest adversity. Now please do not suffer under the illusion that this is a banal and trite story, I am a reader and reviewer more comfortable with crime and horror and yet I managed to read this 400 page thriller in a day.....it is good! Many thanks to the good people at netgalley for supplying me with a gratis copy in exchange for an honest review, and that is what I have written.